Midnight update: Ray Allen, wife speak out about home invasion; Notes, quotes, tidbits from UM's Media Day
Midnight update: Ray Allen, who is still deciding whether to play next season, and his wife are unhappy how local authorities and media reports have characterized what happened at his Coral Gable home very, very late Wednesday night/Thursday morning, when seven 18- and 19-year olds walked into their home.
Coral Gables police spokeswoman Kelly Denham said police did not charge the teenagers with burglary because there was no forced entry, no intent and nothing taken. The teenagers, who had been attending a party next door,, told police they were curious to see Allen's home and didn't believe anyone was inside.
Allen, who was not home at the time, has hired an attorney to handle the matter. Here's what Allen and his wife said late tonight in a joint statement:
“We want to correct the erroneous information being reported about the crime committed in our home this week. On Thursday morning at 2:30 a.m., my wife Shannon was awakened by loud voices in our bedroom where she had been sleeping with our four young children.
"She heard male voices loudly discussing our personal property and sat up in a state of alarm to find at least five people inside our bedroom with large flashlights. She was immediately fearful for the safety of her own life, but more importantly the lives of our young children. When she screamed at them, the intruders quickly fled the scene and laughter was heard as they made their way out of our bedroom, down the stairs and out of our house.
"As these individuals were fleeing our house, Shannon immediately called security and the police for help. Shannon and I believe that a number of the public statements made through media outlets have mischaracterized certain important facts and what we believe to be the seriousness of this potentially devastating invasion upon our lives, home and family.
"The suggestion that anyone can unlawfully enter into someone’s locked home and then into an occupied bedroom in the middle of the night without consequences is unsettling, regardless of the stated or actual reason for such unlawful entry. We are very fortunate that no one involved was physically harmed during this ordeal. Miami is our home and we are proud to be active members in this community. We pray that no one else has to endure this kind of intrusion on their home or their families' safety. Everyone deserves to feel safe in their own homes. We have hired attorney Gregory Victor for representation in this matter.”
Victor said: “A serious crime was committed under Florida law. A large number of young adults knowingly broke into Mr. and Mrs. Allen’s locked home on Thursday, August 14 at 2:30 a.m. and absolutely terrified their family. The crime was not only egregious, but the police characterization of this as a silly prank is completely inappropriate. Every family deserves privacy and to feel safe in their own home. This violation of the Allen family was offensive. The reported intentions of these perpetrators as being simply voyeuristic in nature does not justify their conduct nor excuse them from the reasonable consequences of their reprehensible actions.
"We plan to meet with authorities promptly in order to seek the appropriate intervention of the criminal justice system and discuss the specific actions to be taken so that such unlawful conduct is not ignored and tolerated.”
Chatter from UM's annual "Media Day" earlier Friday:
### In his first media availability since coming to UM, Brad Kaaya left an impression with his poise and maturity, much as he has on the field.
Kaaya, running neck and neck with Jake Heaps for the starting quarterback job, has been working with UM receivers since May, and that --- plus his impressive skill set and the fact he studies “a lot” --- have put him in this position to have a legitimate chance to win the job.
He studied UM’s offense before he got here --- “I’m about the action” --- and “doing those [summer throwing sessions with UM players] really helped me, so now I don’t have any jitters,” he said. “If somebody picks me off, I’m OK. Next play. There are no true freshman jitters…. It feels like my fourth time around doing it.
“It gets pretty hectic [on the field] at times, but you have to calm yourself down. Stay focused on the play. Execute. [Make] the right decision.”
How important is being the starter? “For us, it’s how can I contribute? If it’s me starting, so be it. If it’s me giving the signals, so be it. If it’s me redshirting, so be it.”
Said offensive coordinator James Coley: “He’s a different type of freshman. He comes across like a junior, who has done this before. I’ve been on him like a dog the last two days. We put a lot of pressure on him. He doesn’t melt. He handles pressure really well.”
As Kaaya said: “I came here to play football. I wasn’t coming to Miami to just enjoy the extra stuff that Miami has.”
### Al Golden, on Kaaya: “The first thing that helped him is he came in at 228, is 206 now. He's lighter on his feet, better in the pocket. No. 2, he loves the game. This guy loves football and has devoted all his time to it. He's made that commitment. And he's blessed in terms of his ability to see and his arm down the field. The biggest thing with him is his ability to conceptualize the play. He knows where the H is going to be, the tight end, his checkdown is going to be. A little calmness you don't normally see (with a freshman).”
### Ryan Williams said he “definitely wants” to be back for the Nebraska game Sept. 20, if not sooner, but also understands he’s not going to be handed the job. (That obviously would depend on how his replacement and the team are playing.)
“Hopefully I can play sooner [than Nebraska]," said Williams, who had knee surgery in April. "We don’t know what game I will be cleared for. It’s only been a little over four months, but I’m happy with my progress. I haven’t done full team reps yet, so I don’t know if I can escape the pocket and run from people yet. Everything else I’ve done is pretty good.”
### A year ago, UM people hoped Michael Wyche could come in and seize the starting nose tackle job, but that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen immediately, barring something unexpected. But he isn’t in the doghouse; UM knew the process of getting him into optimum condition would be delayed by the fact he couldn’t enroll here in the spring.
Defensive coordinator Mark D’Onofrio confirmed that Wyche and Courtel Jenkins are “batting for third” string. “Calvin Heurtelou is the leader right now. Earl Moore is second.”
Wyche, who came to UM at 360 pounds, said Friday he’s at 340 but needs to get to 335. He knew this would be a process. “I’ve got five more pounds in me,” he said. “Everything is falling into place.” He said he still expects to emerge as a starter at some point.
When will Wyche be able to make an impact? “This is no way to predict that,” D’Onofrio said. “We are trying to get him to his optimum weight, try to get him to understand the defense daily. It’s a long season. He’ll give us valuable reps when the time comes.”
Wyche and/or Heurtelou and Jenkins need to be as good as advertised, because UM was 78th against the run last season. “Unacceptable,” Chickillo said of that ranking. “We’ve got to be better in that category and I think we will be.”
### Who has exceeded D’Onofrio’s expectations? D’Onofrio mentioned end Trent Harris, linebacker Nantambu Akil Fentress (“he plays at a whole other level with speed; you see him passing people up all day”) and Heurtelou (“he got energy, he plays with emotion.”)
Harris, who has bulked up from 222 to 237, surprisingly remains first team at defense end, ahead of Tyriq McCord and Al-Quadin Muhammad.
“When I first got here, Tyriq took me under his wing and taught me a lot,” he said. Coaches say he’s a quicker learner, follows his assignments and has been an effective pass-rusher.
Alabama offered Harris, who was a three-star prospect out of Winter Park, but he said he didn’t seriously consider it.
### Players can’t say enough about Dallas Crawford, who will bring physicality and instinctive play to safety. He’s close to nailing down a starting job.
Crawford is glad he made the move from running back; he believes he’s better at safety, having played there in high school.
“We thought he could be a starting safety,” D’Onofrio said. “He has shown us he can be.”
Or, as Ladarius Gunter said, Dallas “has brought excitement to [our secondary]. He can do it all.”
Where does Crawford excel? “Recognizing the formations and tackling,” he said. Don’t underestimate the second--- tackling has been an issue for UM’s defense.
### Prized five-star recruit Chad Thomas, who’s backing up Anthony Chickillo, said he hoped to start as a freshman, and still does. But what if he only ends up playing on third down?
“That would be a blessing just playing on third down," he answered. "I would like to get in more plays but I’ve got to wait my turn. I’m acting like a starter even though I’m not.”
Al Golden said he’s still in the mix for first and second down reps, besides an expected role on third down.
Since leaving Booker T. Washington, Thomas has gained 20 pounds and is now 260. “I’m way faster than high school. I have more power than I had in high school. I’m moving at a faster pace.”
Thomas said he’s comfortable when UM shifts him from end to tackle. “My whole senior year of high school, I played tackle. I know how to rush against a guard or center…. It’s been a great learning experience, competing against the older guys with the second team.”
One lesson he has learned: “Don’t use my high school tendencies. Don’t use the same moves. I’ve got to rely on more moves.”
### UM wants to spot in speedy Trayone Gray, but only if he can pick up the system. “He’s behind but he’s definitely talented enough,” James Coley said. “Kind of like Gus Edwards was last year, because he wasn’t here throughout the summer. The moment it starts clicking, where you don’t have coach behind him telling him where to go every play, then he’s definitely talented enough” to contribute right away.
### Keep hearing lots of positive feedback on freshman receivers; Braxton Berrios is “as advertised,” James Coley said. And Tyre Brady, 6-3, has flashed an interesting skill set. One could get in the rotation with Rashawn Scott out indefinitely with an upper body injury (though not for the season, Golden said).
Receivers coach Brennan Carroll said Berrios’ return “is about as quick as you can get a kid back from that injury. He’s done a phenomenal job with his preparation and made the most of his opportunities. He’s quick, has got really good hands, has a great feel for routes, spacing, being in the right place. We’re going to try to find the best ways to use him.”
And Tyre Brady? “Big receiver,” Carroll said. "He’s done a good job. We’ve been a smaller unit, so he lengthens us out a little bit.”
### Muhammed expects to be a better rusher because “I’m definitely a lot stronger. Maybe 15 pounds heavier. I learned a lot. It wasn’t a bad year. Could I have done better in some aspects? Yes. But it wasn’t a bad year. I definitely think I’m going to be a better player.”
### I asked a bunch of defensive players for tangible reasons their unit will be better. Among reasons cited: Crawford, the new defensive tackles, strong secondary, the new pass rushers.
Plus, “we’re a lot more mature,” Anthony Chickillo said. “A lot stronger up front. Guys are understanding the defense and why we do things in certain situations.” Chickillo, who arrived at UM at 240 pounds, is now 280 but “I’m running the best I’ve run.”
### Joe Yearby said his surgically-repaired ankle is 90 percent. He already has surpassed Gus Edwards on the depth chart.
We'll run more tidbits from media day in buzz columns over the next week or two.